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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38182
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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My car was hit by a pizza delivery driver, not too bad but

Customer Question

Hi, my car was hit by a pizza delivery driver, not too bad but $1700 worth of damage and they want to total my car. My car bluebook value is $1300 and change however in the last 3 1/2 years I have put well over $4000 into it at the mechanic. Can they really claim a total loss over $400?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

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Legally yes, they will typically total a car if it cost more than 75-80% of its value to fix it. So here you are well over the value of the car to fix it.

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Your recourse is to see if they will pay you the appraised value of the car and then let you buy it from them for a few hundred and you can then repair it yourself if possible.

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You can also fight them on their assessment of the vehicle based on your improvements and get your own independent appraisal to support your position that it is worth more than they offer.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Can I sue the other driver? I cannot believe I actually have to get shafted over this. The money I put into it has to show for something.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Yes, you can always just sue the other driver for the value of the car. But if it is their insurer who is offering the money, then if you accept it, they will require you to sign a release stating that you are accepting the money as full settlement. So you wouldn't want to settle with the insurer if you were going to sue the other driver..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I can avoid a salvage title by going after the driver in court then? I'm not hurting for the money. I just want what's fair, and my car getting fixed is fair even if I have to pay the other 400.00
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

No, they will declare the car totaled regardless, you can just refuse to settle for less than what you feel it is actually worth..

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But the insurer probably won't dicker over $400 because it isn't worth hiring an attorney to defend the other driver in court if you sued..

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm not talking about going after the drivers insurance. I'm talking about going after the driver himself, out of pocket. Please elaborate on my car being totaled. From my understanding it's my decision to accept it being totaled or not. I have not signed anything nor given any authorization to deem it totaled.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Right, his insurance has to provide an attorney to represent him under his policy. And they would remove the case from small claims court to a higher court if they actually wanted to fight it.

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If your insurer has been made aware of the accident, then they have a legal duty to report to the DMV as totaled.

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So there is no way around having the car declared as totaled... it is just about how much you will be able get from the insurer or the other driver for the vehicle.

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And no, it is not up to you to determine if it is totaled or not, that is purely the insurer's decision based on their specific formula for totaling a vehicle..

Expert:  Barrister replied 2 months ago.

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

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Thanks much

Barrister